The identity of U.S. citizens, green card holders and Afghans granted visas for working with the U.S. army was handed over in a bid to get them out the country, Politico reported on Thursday.
The Taliban is controlling the area around Kabul airport, and dictating who can and cannot enter.
Biden on Thursday said he was unaware of the details of the list – but said it was quite possible that it had been handed to the Taliban, with which the U.S. is cooperating during the evacuations.
‘There have been occasions when our military has contacted their military counterparts in the Taliban and said this, for example, this bus is coming through with X number of people on it, made up of the following group of people. We want you to let that bus or that group through,’ he said.
Joe Biden on Thursday was asked about a possible ‘kill list’ of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, handed over to the Taliban. The list was designed to inform the Taliban who to let through to Kabul airport for evacuation. Biden said he was unaware of a specific list, but it was indeed possible
An Afghan translator, Josh Habib, far left, is seen working with U.S. Marines in July 2009 in Helmand province. The Taliban has reportedly been handed a list of names of Afghans like Habib who are trying to leave the country, and have been granted U.S. visas
Afghans are seen waving their paperwork at soldiers outside Kabul airport on Thursday
‘So, yes there have been occasions like that.
‘To the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred and they have been let through.’
Biden said that he was not aware of any specific list.
‘I can’t tell you with any certitude that there’s actually been a list of names,’ he added.
‘There may have been. But I know of no circumstance.
‘It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, that here’s the names of 12 people, they’re coming, let them through.
‘It could very well have happened.’
Biden on Thursday spoke from the White House to address the deaths of 12 U.S. service members earlier in the day, in Kabul. He insisted that withdrawing from Afghanistan was and is the right thing to do
Taliban fighters are seen outside Kabul airport on August 19. They control the perimeter of the airport and are coordinating with U.S. officials to decide who can enter
Biden and his team have frequently emphasized since the August 15 fall of Kabul that the Taliban want the Americans to leave, and so are acting in their self-interest to speed the evacuation.
They have also emphasized that the Taliban cannot be trusted and, despite coordinating with U.S. military for the evacuations, should not be considered allies.
Defense officials told Politico they were astonished that the list of names was handed over to the terror group.
‘Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,’ said one defense official.
‘It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.’
Biden officials, in a classified briefing on Capitol Hill this week, reported by Politico, said that the list was the best way to keep Americans and Afghans safe and prevent a shooting war between Taliban fighters and the thousands of U.S. troops stationed at the airport.
‘They had to do that because of the security situation the White House created by allowing the Taliban to control everything outside the airport,’ one U.S. official said.
But after thousands of visa applicants arrived at the airport, overwhelming the capacity of the U.S. to process them, the State Department changed course and recommended that applicants do not come to the airport.
From then on, the list fed to the Taliban didn’t include those Afghan names, Politico reported.
As of August 25, only U.S. passport and green card holders were being accepted as eligible for evacuation.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) appeared to criticize the Biden administration’s strategy of coordinating with the Taliban, writing in a statement: “As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.”
Biden on Thursday suggested that the Taliban could even help evacuate American citizens left behind after the August 31 deadline – despite the Taliban currently holding a U.S. citizen hostage.
Mark Frerichs, a civil engineer from Illinois, had lived in Kabul for a decade, working on various development projects, when he was abducted in January 2020 in the capital city, according to U.S. officials.
His captors soon turned him over to the Haqqani network, one of the more brutal groups working under the Taliban umbrella.
Yet Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, and Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, head of U.S. forces on the ground in Afghanistan, have referred to the Taliban in written documents as ‘our Afghan partners,’ according to two defense officials.